I’ve taken lot of iPhone pictures this summer. It’s kind of pathetic, actually. Snapping pictures all the time is the equivalent of saying, “Hey guys. Doesn’t this feel great, being young like we are?” And then repeating it again and again until everyone gets really self-conscious.
But that’s exactly why I keep snapping pictures. I feel like maybe I’m at the summit of my youth, and that for the rest of my life, when I think of my twenties, I’ll think of this time right now. It’ll never happen again, so I need souvenirs. Pictures are souvenirs. Meaning is also a souvenir. Because if you can’t have your youth again, you can at least feel like you were a part of something lasting and historic.
Everything is lasting and historic in some way, but that doesn’t mean people will care about it. If they do care, they probably won’t find meaning in the parts you found meaningful. No one will ever want to hear about the time you went pool hopping and everyone was there, or the time you climbed onto the roof at St-Viateur Bagel at 5 in the morning.
No one, that is, except your kids. Kids are incredibly interested in their parents’ twenties. My dad once spent half an hour telling me about the time he saw Jethro Tull in Kitchener and I hung on his every word. That Jethro Tull concert is part of my heritage.
Kids want to think of their parents’ youths as lasting and historic, because it means that they are part of a lasting, historic lineage. Also, because it helps them make sense of who their parents are as people. But the joke is on them, because they will probably never really know.
I’m still not sure if I want kids, but I do want people to one day be interested in the minutiae of my young life, and to think it’s all super important. If that ever happens I will have lots of iPhone pictures to illustrate it for them.